Why My Marriage Isn’t As Good As It Seems (On Facebook)…But That’s Okay

Guest Post from Jackie Bledsoe

While I’m away, I’m excited to share with you several guest posts from friends and colleagues that are passionate about marriages, relationships, and conflict resolution. Jackie Bledsoe is a professional blogger, author, and speaker, but first and foremost a husband and father, who encourages men to better lead and love their families through his blog, JackieBledsoe.com. He’s the author of the  The 7 Rings of Marriage™, and with his wife, co-hosts The 7 Rings of Marriage Web Show, where they share practical marriage lessons, and interview other couples who have lasting and fulfilling marriages.

When you write and speak about marriage for a living it might seem like your marriage is good all the time. But it’s not (I’m sure this isn’t a surprise to you). However, after a quick scan of my Facebook timeline it does look like my marriage is good, no, great all the time!

Madly In Love (6)

There are pictures of our kids smiling and having fun, selfies of my wife and I on our date nights, and pics of us enjoying ourselves on vacation and with family and friends. Smiling faces abound — life, marriage, and family seem amazing!

But I’m coming clean here.

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Remember 3 Things and Get The Most Out Of Your Next Conflict

Most people don’t like conflict, but it doesn’t have to be all bad. In fact, there is much good that can come out of conflict if you know a healthy process to work through it AND you keep the following 3 opportunities in mind:

Simple Cents

1. It is an opportunity to grow in your understanding of each other.

Saying we all want to be understood is like saying we all need air to breathe. But how often do we focus on understanding the person we are talking to, especially when we are in conflict?

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7 Things to Practice As You Deal With The Small Stuff

At a lunch last week I heard a man speak about keeping “short accounts” with his wife – meaning they would talk about most everything that created disharmony in their relationship – even if it was simply an unkind or harsh tone of voice. Does that sound absurd? I hope not. It is probably one of the healthiest aspects of marriage if done well.

7 Tips for Conflict

Here are 7 ideas to keep in mind:

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4 Steps To Love Better In Conflict

I know of couples who straight out go for the jugular when they fight with each other. Emotions escalate and so do they. Then there are those who are split: one wants to get to the bottom of things NOW and the other does everything they can to run the other direction. And finally, there are those couples in which neither party really wants to engage, so they both tend to put off dealing with conflict. Zerrin and I tend to fall more in this last camp. Here are some action steps to take regardless of how you deal with conflict:

4 Steps to Love Better while in conflict. Must print for later! http://madlyinlove.org/4-steps-love-better-conflict/

Step #1: Consider Your Conflict Style

Why do you tend to deal with conflict the way you do? What good (or bad) examples have you learned from? These are very important questions to ask. They can lead to much personal insight. The more you clarify why, the more power you will have to change.

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8 Rules of Engagement for Fighting Fair

In times of war there is something known as Rules Of Engagement (ROE). According to GlobalSecurity.org, they are “directives issued by competent military authority which delineate the circumstances and limitations under which United States forces will initiate and/or continue combat engagement with other forces encountered.”

Rules of Engagement

Recently I thought married couples should be practicing rules of engagement when it comes to interpersonal conflict!

Here are 8 Rules of Engagement to ensure you’re always fighting fair:

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When Conflict Happens: PAUSE and do this FIRST

When conflict happens, the first and most important step to keep in mind is this: put everything on pause–until you are able to talk about it in a healthy manner.

We all know the experience of trying to talk things out in the heat of the moment–it only makes matters worse! You have been there. I have been there. It doesn’t work.

So what then?

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The Single Most Helpful Step To Process Conflict:

Over the weekend my wife and I processed two areas of conflict between us. In both instances they occurred LARGELY because of a failure to hear, understand, and appreciate the other person’s perspective. Let me explain what happened in one example, and show the positive outcome of taking this single most helpful step to process conflict.

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A Fire In the Kitchen!

The single must frustrating and grieving part of my job as a marriage counselor is this: most couples put off coming to see me until their situation is so bad, it is nearly impossible to turn it around. It is like waiting until their house is nearly burnt to the ground before they call the Fire Department. Over and over again, I think: “why didn’t you come to see me, when there was simply a fire in the kitchen?”  Here are three reasons people wait and three actions to take instead:

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I Need Your Help PLUS the Preface to my ebook

Preface:

For nearly 30 years, I have listened to the stories and struggles of husbands and wives. As a marriage and family counselor, it is a humbling opportunity each time I am invited into the private world of a couple.

In recent years, I have observed two dynamics taking place in marriages with increased frequency:

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